Glee 303 Recap: You’re Knockin’ Off That Piece

Then we’ve got this Black Swan meets The Karate Kid meets The Spelling Bee thing happening in the Fame room where Mike was detoured en route to The Chemistry Tutor because he saw that clean wooden floor and just had to writhe around on it and make noises.

Overbearing Asian Father, who really needs to have a little fun before he dies, pops up like Ghost Dad Ninja to tell Mike that dancing is for weddings and it’s just a hobby. Mike is just one injury away from becoming Jason Street! Doesn’t Mike want a prestigious Ivy League education so that one day he, too, can be part of the 99%?

Cut to Tina popping up to have a conversation about how Mike has to follow his heart and be his true self and be recognized for his passionate feelings/talents re: music/dancing. Mike and Tina’s relationship is of great interest to my shoes and just about nobody else. SHUT UP AND DANCE, KIDS!

This segues into Mike’s audition…

oh my god the stage is on fire

…he does “Be Cool” and his singing is fine, meh, but the dancing is big and jubilant and the alleged football players behind him are Jets all the way.

dance dance revolution

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Back to the sordid hallways, where Kurt and Blaine are about to have a conversation about how Blaine has to follow his heart and be his true self and be recognized for his passionate feelings re: music.

flower power

Kurt is, per his attire, once again prepared for war. But he’s got flowers so it’d seem this time, he’s a soldier of love.

Kurt: “The cast list goes up on Friday. Are you nervous?”
Blaine: “A little. I try not to think about it.”
Kurt: “I wouldn’t be. My mole in the casting office says there’s only one actor they’re seriously considering for the role of Tony, and his initials are ‘BA.'”

you'll always be anybodys to me

Mhm. Saint Hummel’s had a little transformation, thank god, and I think it’s special that he can overcome his bitchiness to be happy for Blaine. And Blaine McPerfectface is all Extra Perfect about it and loves the flowers, which he’ll probably be able to carry around school for two seconds before getting slushied.

Blaine: “Kurt! They’re beautiful. What are they for?”
Kurt: “You killed your audition, Blaine. If anyone else got Tony, including me, the wrath of Sondheim would fall on William McKinley like a plague of Schubert Alley locusts. These are to celebrate — you.”
Blaine: “You always zig when I think you’re about to zag. I… I just… love that about you.”

Is that the nature of Kurt, or the nature of Kurt vis a vis Blaine? They look like they’re about to kiss but then they seemingly both remember that they’re gay and this is high school and with West Side Story and sectionals coming up, it looks like a bad day to die.
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And back to booty camp where Will wants to teach a bunch of kids who can’t tango to do the “widowmaker,” not to be confused with K9: The Widowmaker a movie starring Schindler and also featuring a high school friend of mine who was accepted into Julliard’s acting program (the one Kurt and Rachel wanted to apply to but had their dreams dashed) and then promptly flunked out or dropped out around the same time K9 came out. Then K9 ended up flopping, actually, but somewhere around there he dumped his girlfriend unceremoniously for no real reason, which is the experience she drew upon when giving me the best break-up advice you’ll ever get, and now she’s married and just had a baby and I’m flying to New York City right this minute to poke that baby in the ear. So here we are. Full circle and far away. RIGHT. GLEE:

spoon river anthology: the high school version

Quinn, sidenote, is prancing around in this scene like she spent lunchtime inhaling helium or she just learned how to put in a tampon and feels really free.

Mercedes cannot do the widowmaker and generally seems sick of the whole entire shitshow. It’s that thing where you’re just sort of okay with like, your girlfriend being possessive or your boss not giving you a raise and then your friend/significant other gives you a somewhat aggressive inspirational speech about how you’re too good for that shit and you suddenly become a giant barrel of largely fabricated self-righteousness. It’s usually necessary, but it’s rarely pretty.

santana is remembering where that hand was last night

You know, kinda like when Lauren Zieses inspired THE SAME EXACT CONVERSATION in A Night of Neglect. Anyhow!

it's called the widowmaker because if you can't do it, shane will die and then you'll be a widow. how do you like dem apples mercedes benz

So then we flash into a slightly lyrically altered “It’s All Over” from Dreamgirls. Santana and Brittany are in the back in glittery purple dresses with giant beehive hair. Brittany’s looks especially unruly, probably from eskimo-kissing Santana all afternoon. I’m out of adjectives, but it was good.

Santana:
Effie, please, stop excusing yourself.
You’ve been late, you’ve been mean,
and getting fatter all the time.

Mercedes:
You’re lyin’, you’re lyin’
I’ve never been so thin
You’re lyin’, you’re lyin’
cause you’re knockin’ off that piece
Who thinks she’s better than everybody
Runnin’ for president
She ain’t better than anybody
She ain’t nothin’ but common

AHEM. 

Just to clarify, Mercedes isn’t referencing their knock-off gowns, but the fact that Santana is shtupping Brittany. So.

Santana:
Now you listen to me, Miss. Blame-It-On-the-World,
See, I put up with you for much too long.
I have put up with your bitchin’
I put up with your naggin’
And all your screamin’ too!

When the song’s over, Mercedes snaps back into the present, and an empty auditorium, realizing it really is over: she’s out of Glee Club. Fuck all of y’all.
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Back to the dance hall where Mike and Mama Chang are about to have a conversation about how Mike wants to follow his heart and be his true self and be recognized for his passionate feelings, re: music.

Mama Chang knows Mike ditched the Chem Tutor but then Mike does a little spin in the air and says that’s what he wants to do, he wants to be an artist who does spins in the air. Mama Chang subverts her Overbearing Asian Motherdom and tells him to follow his dreams, grasshopper.

Mom: “I let go of my dreams but I never want to do that. You hear me?”

Then I think Mike decides to teach his Mom to dance and everyone cried except for me, because I’m heartless and I was like “oh my god this is so corny.”

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Now time for the Sing-Off and its opening coin toss. Alvin, Simon and Theodore have those obnoxious bright-eyed “we love to watch the children dance” faces on overdrive and the glee kids in the audience are amping up the significance of the event Chaiken-style — it’s THE CLASH OF THE TITANS! I also think Santana is fingerbanging Brittany under her cheerleader skirt, but maybe I’m projecting.

now firstly I want you to know that you're both very very pretty princesses

I mostly spent this time staring at my refrigerator wondering who ate my Phish Food  but I think they both gave really stellar performances.

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Rachel, who made her dress with a pattern from Jo-Ann Fabrics in 1989, is in crisis mode because Mercedes was so good and what if Rachel doesn’t get Maria? She’s decided instead to run for student body president because really, the field’s right open, and the contingency of students likely to vote for glee club members — that is, Glee Club itself — will now be split three ways which I think means 1.5 votes per candidate, plus all the boys Brittany slept with.

you're always dressed for war, you oughtta be prepared for war

Of course the truth is that if she’s applying for a conservatory (BFA) program, which I believe she is, being student body president really won’t be of much consequence, though I find the possibility of her reign terrifyingly awesome. I’m imagining McKinley High draped in a giant Berry Banner, Christo-and-Jeanne-Claude style.

Kurt calls her out for this epic miscalculation:

Kurt: “In ten years, you’re not going to be thinking about the clubs you were in or the things you did, but the friends you had and the ones you tossed aside.”

One day we all have to grow up and realize just ’cause this or that behavior is a caustic quirk your peers have come to expect that doesn’t mean they’ll ever accept it. I don’t think she’ll run.

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Ultimately, Huey, Duey and Louie are unable to pick between the two and pitch that they share the role.

where is the love (besides around mercedes' neck)

But Mercedes doesn’t want to share it and she doesn’t want to to learn the Widowmaker and end up like my friend who went to Julliard. She wants to be carried on stage inside a motherfucking egg and she wants only blue m&ms and eternal tater tots.

i can go feel pretty all by my damn self

Mercedes wants to know why nobody ever wants to hurt Rachel’s feelings, which makes about as much sense as a nursery rhyme.

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Oh, so this whole time there’s been stuff going on with Will and Emma but as you know I only recap the children’s parts. So it leads to this scene where Will and Emma are kneeling at the bed praying because Emma’s parents are assholes and G-d knows it, and then Will breaks out into Coldplay’s “Fix You” and I feared it’d transform into a Skins S1/Magnolia situation with everyone looking like ghosts of themselves singing this song but totally butchering it, but instead it’s just Will and his pudding face and his Lady Blinkin’.

that's what she said

In some alternate time/space continuum, the cast list goes up and everyone gets what they wanted/expected.  Everyone hugs their significant others — Kurt and Blaine, Tina and Mike, Santana and Brittany. Santana is gonna be Anita and it’s gonna be the BOMB.

Also there are a lot of clubs at this school:

The scene ends on the stage where the Saint Holy Choir of Coldplay is in full effect:

the touch the feel of cotton, the fabric of our ballads

Then Mercedes goes to visit Elphaba to sign up for the Disaster Catastrophe Show Choir.

and you'll never guess what's hidden inside my magical hat.

Hopefully Mercedes will sing loud enough to drown out Sugar. Their first show can be Dame Edna: The Royal Tour.

Oh, my intern has a feeling about Finn and that is “remember when Finn was a character and not just a facial expression”?

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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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64 Comments

  1. I don’t know if it’s just that my Brittana goggles are too firmly fused to my face, but I find the most of the parts of Glee that they aren’t in kinda boring these days. Sadly.

  2. worst episode so far. MIKE CHANG’S GRADES?! what the hell happened to glee? if i wasn’t being bored to death, i was cringing to death due to all the corniness. what a waste of an episode. the only (kind of) redeeming factor was brittany’s number in the auditorium. final thought- ZZZZZ & eye roll.

  3. I can’t believe that last season’s Rocky Horror episode was better than this piece of shit. Honestly, WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO ALL THE CHARACTERS?? It was sooooooooo painful to watch, I just..I can’t even. I couldn’t even enjoy the awesomeness of Brittany’s flash mob because of all the other boring crap. WHY DIDN’T QUINN SPEAK AT ALL??? WHYYYYYYYYY!!!????

  4. Does anyone else kind of miss the wacky and over-the-top ridiculousness of season 2? I’m digging multi-episode arcs, but this heart-felt sentimental crap needs to die in a fire. Seriously.

    Stop trying to appeal to lonely teenagers and give us more mean-spirited snark!

  5. “This means that on the surface Mercedes is real, but on the inside she’s a fictional character based on the life of a real person as represented in the musical “Dreamgirls.””

    That made me snort-laugh at work. Thanks.

    I think Glee has brainwashed me because I really liked most of this episode. Or I’ve just learned to watch the parts/characters I care about and ignore the rest. Probably the latter.

    But OMG Santana as Anita is going to be the bomb. If she & Rachel sing the “A Boy Like That/I Have a Love” duet someone will have to scrape the puddle formerly known as me up off the floor.

  6. Surprised at the amount of criticism of Mercedes. She finally stands up and says that Rachel is a favorite of Shue’s(so true) and starts to feel real confidence in herself. This happened before,as Riese mentioned, when Zises encouraged her to realize her talent. ‘Cept Zises carried it waaay over the top and Mercedes went along with it for a bit. Some people need exterior reinforcement of themselves, from friends or boy/girlfriends.

    I guess I’m not as critical of Shue as a lot of others. I’ve dealt with mental illness myself and I can’t count how many friends and family members just want to do SOMETHNG, ANYTHING to help. Being a bystander while someone you love is hurting is a frustrating, helpless feeling. People don’t always do the right thing or the appropriate thing. I think Shue is new at handling OCD, just like Emma, and is trying to find a way he can help.

    I loved every song in this ep except “Fix You”, it seemed a little over the top. Mike’s dancing with his Mom also seemed a bit mawkish; Riese you’re not the only one who didn’t cry. Santana’s entry back into ND was just lazy. The griping by fans over WSS cast list is weird, who said this was a complete list? Who said they were done with all of the auditions? I dunno why they wouldn’t have shown Santana’s or why they would wait ’til the next ep, if they are. I really doubt they are going to, or able to, show WSS in it’s entirety. Therefore it wouldn’t be necessary to show auditions or casting for all the parts. Just my take on it.

    Funny that the most unrealistic part of the show, Britany’s sudden understanding of world events and the patriarchy that exists, actually gets applauded ’cause she’s, well, Britany. She doesn’t know the capitol of Ohio or who is president but suddenly is all about political awareness.

    I see that different viewers are selective about what pisses them off: too much Quinn/not enough Quinn, Finn being underdeveloped/who cares about Finn, Mike Chang being a prop/Mike Chang having a storyline, Mercedes accepting being second to Rachel/Mercedes being a bitch when she steps up and challenges Rachel and Shue about it.

    It was pointed out on another recap that during Brit’s number when the other dancers were writhing and thrusting on the floor, the only ones standing were the Unholy Trinity of Brit, Santana and Quinn. Interesting.

    I say Kurt and Rachel split the vote and Brittany wins the election.

    Brittany 2011
    Taste the Rainbow

  7. Was it just me or was this episode awful? It really bugs that Santana just shows back it’s a one sentence. “Oh, yeah, I’m back in the Glee club now.” Whaaat?

    I honestly thought the writing would be a lot better since they hired like 5 writers for this season, but this still was one of those Very Special Self-Contained Episodes. Mike Chang seems like a great kid, but that was completely out of nowhere. Also, sorry, but he sounded awful on “Cool” and the original choreography from the film is way better. Call me a West Side Story purist or a hater if you will.

    During the show I caught myself thinking of a great point Riese made last week: Glee is porn. It is bad repetitive storylines and no character development but you keep watching for the naked chicks fucking — erm, musical numbers. Maybe that’s why I feel let down… the musical numbers were weak this week.

      • No, he absolutely got the Asian F in this episode. And I know that because I was subconsciously calculating how many Asian stereotypes they could fit into one episode. They did pretty well for themselves on that front. I think before this episode, Mike literally has not had more then 5 lines in one episode.

        • I’m completely baffled why people aren’t generally more offended by the racism directed towards Mike Chang/Tina Cohen-Chang. I hear people point out the show’s racism towards Mercedes frequently, which is valid because it’s horrific (I mean, come on, doing stories on Mercedes’s laziness would be like doing stories on Rachel being money-grubbing, it’s THAT OFFENSIVE and based in historical injustice), but I find the “Asian Fusion” jokes to be just as bad. Also, did anyone else want to yell at the screen when Mike Chang, Sr. explained to Figgins that an A- was an “Asian F”? Like, first of all, shut up, white writers, and second of all, Figgins is also Asian! East Asia isn’t the whole of Asia!

          • I’m white and I can’t help but constantly notice how offensive the Asian portrayals on this show are. I guess people aren’t bothered by it because a) they are good stereotypes. I’d rather be stereotyped as smart over dumb. BUT I do know at least one American Korean friend of mine who hated that people assumed she’d be awesome at math and science because she’s Asian and hated that people assumed she must be a study nerd. b) I think, at least in recent American times, Asians are not any sort of systematically oppressed minority. I know they’re viewed in some ways as a superior minority — again, a big part is education — and don’t seem to contend AS MUCH with negative prejudices that will foster discrimination. The combination of that is why I think there’s a difference with Mercedes, who they’ve made the angry, sassy black chick. Maybe actual Asians think the Asian F jokes are funny, I thought it was dumb the first time and then they kept repeating them. (Another friend of mine, an exchange student from Japan informed me that she and her friends think Lost In Translation is the funniest movie ever. My friend, who is first generation American with parents from Greece, thought My Big Fat Greek wedding was the funniest movie ever. Both movies to me were just movies, really.)

          • “b) I think, at least in recent American times, Asians are not any sort of systematically oppressed minority. I know they’re viewed in some ways as a superior minority — again, a big part is education — and don’t seem to contend AS MUCH with negative prejudices that will foster discrimination. The combination of that is why I think there’s a difference with Mercedes, who they’ve made the angry, sassy black chick.”

            That is a really interesting point you made, oh glee making people think interesting thoughts lmao!

            My bff in the whole world is Asian and people assumed she was good at math and she was but still she’s more than that, lol. I remember talking about the differences of minority stereotypes and she said the same thing. For her it can still be annoying at times but better being seen as that so she can move around the U.S. (expect not knowing English, that is one very real annoying stereotype she had to always prove wrong, people even thought I was her translator once-fail, lol) more freely in compared other minority racial groups.

            I found the episode interesting because I related to Mike (although I am Nigerian*-born American, blah blah blah..). A’s were important and goddamit I was suppose to be either a doctor, lawyer or engineer! I think that is what resonated with me the most in this episode. I was aware of the stereotypes of Asians with out performing and academics but at the same time I related to it so much.

            * I could only imagine the stereotypes about Nigerians in America e-mail scams anyone?

  8. Man, I used to look forward to these reviews but they just get worse and worse. If your biggest complaints about episodes are always gonna be “MY FAVORITE LESBIAN COUPLES AREN’T ON ENOUGH,” you should really probably just stop watching the show. There are upwards of a dozen protagonists on Glee. Whining about every moment that isn’t Brittana is getting real old real fast.

    • Hey, remember that time that this was a website about girl-on-girl culture, so obviously that’s what the recaps are going to (hopefully) focus on?

      Yeah… I remember that. Hmm.

      Besides, I hardly think that is what’s going on in these recaps. Like, are we reading the same thing? And I think you’d be surprised at just how many people are only interested in the Brittany/Santana relationship on “Glee” right now. Like, everyone on Tumblr. Most of the lady-lovers. Anyone who’s fucking sick of the “Mercedes and Rachel have a diva-off” storyline/Finn’s gassy baby face. All of those people.

      • Hey, remember that time when we didn’t use hyperbole? Like, “everyone” on Tumblr? What about all the Rachel/Finn fans,the Will/Emma fans and the Quinn/Rachel(which doesn’t even exist, as of now)fans? All of those people.

        I’m a little insulted that it’s assumed because I’m gay that I am not interested in any other part of the show, other than the gay parts.
        I’m invested in the Santana and Brittany characters/relationship too but I guess I watch this show for the ensemble. I don’t really expect objective commentary on the non-gay parts when I read reviews or comments on a lesbian site though. Because I know better.

        What it comes down to is that I understand the point Ern was trying to make, she just didn’t make it in a very polite way. I would say maybe she needs to adjust her expectations w/r/t recaps and comments here.

      • Hey, remember that time that this was a website about girl-on-girl culture, so obviously that’s what the recaps are going to (hopefully) focus on?

        Hey um, I’m totally fine to go back to that. You guys asked me for more. But if I could go back to just recapping the gay parts, it’d make my life like, 5,000 times easier. JUST SAY THE FUCKING WORD, ASSHATS

          • Yeah, I was. I wish the show had more of the lady variety of gay going on so you could fill two whole pages with lady gay “Glee” parts.

          • Personally, I enjoy the reading the recaps so much more when the recapper (Riese) thinks the show/story line/character whatever is asinine and then makes loads and loads of sarcastic and irreverent comments about everything involved. It makes me laugh, every time. Autostraddle recaps never disappoint me.

    • lol wut. You did actually read the recap right? Most of it is *not* about Brittana, which makes sense because most of the episode was not about Brittana.

      Relatedly, I would like to thank Riese for reviewing the show as whole (minus adults) instead of just the gay bits, because the anticipation of snark makes me slightly more inclined to watch the non-gay bits.

  9. As much chatter and hype that there was for this episode I was actually pretty disappointed. I love all things Brittana of course, so I loved the locker combo with Rachel/Kurt and of course Brittney’s number. I love Santana but she should of had to work a bit harder to get back into Glee Club and Quinn should have.

    As far as Mercedes and Rachel goes, Mercedes can SANG no doubt about that but Rachel in my opinion has better range, especially when the notes get high. Also, I am all for Mercedes sticking up for herself both times the writers have just made her out to be a spoiled brat who demands tater tots and knocks over music stands. That said she should get more leads but I can’t stand diva behavior.

    I love Blaine.

    And last I love Mike Chang, get your groove on Secret Asian Man

  10. I can’t even. Just. The “We Run the World,” Brit, Santana, misc girls flash mob was just…so….

    Everything has been muted and all quiet to me since I watched that earlier today. It wasn’t even that “gay,” I guess. But I feel like, had I not already come out, I would have right after that. The rest of the episode was just like…what? Reading the recap I realized how much I missed because I was still in dream land. I already have a thing for cheerleaders. This was just like, sensory overload to badass music.

    Am I that gay?

    The answer is yes.

    Also big ups to riese’s Ani Difranco reference.

  11. I would like to join the compliments of Riese’s recapping skillz. And say that I’m really looking forward to more new names for the unholy musical-directing trio. For mine, Wynken, Blynken and Nod was the winner this time around.

  12. I only watch this show for Brittany and Santana. They are the highlight to me and everything else is boring.

    I think this recap was fabulous and I am going to use the word “asshat” in as many sentences as possible tomorrow.

    Thats a new to me and I like it.

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